The floral festival of Bathukamma is synonymous with colour, dance and song. For nine days, women in Telangana dress in their festive best, create beautiful floral arrangements and sing and dance in the evenings to celebrate the cultural spirit of the state. And a highlight every year during this time is the special Bathukamma songs that are released. These folk songs composed by artistes from across the state are much-awaited and an integral part of the festivities.
This year, Telangana Jagruthi, an NGO run by Member of Legislative Council K Kavitha released a special song for Bathukamma titled, 'Allipoola Vennela'. What set this song apart was that A R Rahman and Gautham Vasudev Menon were roped in to create it. However, the song was criticised by many people who said that the Telangana soul was missing in it.
Usually, the songs for Bathukamma are distinguished by the use of folk elements and the Telangana dialect in which it is sung. These songs that are composed by the local artistes are always well received. The music videos in particular are very popular and are usually set in a village with fields and rivers especially highlighted. In the video, residents are seen preparing for the festival. Everyone is vibrantly dressed, the women clap and dance in a circle, and flowers are arranged in unique designs as the folk song plays in the background.
With Bathukamma being celebrated from October 6-14 this year, TNM spoke to three folk singers who have been singing Bathukamma songs for many years now and have made their mark with their memorable songs and music videos. These singers put their soul into their work and add the distinct Telangana touch to their songs.
Satyavathi Rathod, more popularly known as Mangli, needs no introduction to the Telugu audience. The renowned playback singer and actor is known for her hit songs such as âSaranga Dariyaâ from Love Story and âBhoom Badalâ from Krack.
The singer has also sung special songs for many festivals such as Ugadi and Sankranthi, to name a few. Her songs for Bathukamma are particularly popular and she has sung 15 songs over the years for the floral festival. She also choreographed the dances for them.
Speaking to TNM, Mangli says that she feels very happy to sing Bathukamma songs as this is about her own culture. âIt's a very good feeling, I not only sing the songs but also compose dance moves for them,â adds Mangli. She goes to small villages in Telangana to shoot the videos for the songs, which she says brings her in touch with her roots.
Some of her famous Bathukamma songs are âPachipaala Vennelaâ and âSingidilo Rangulane Duusi Thechiâ.
Watch Mangli's song here :
Mounika Singh Yadav
Mounika Singh Yadav, who has 20 Bathukamma songs in her kitty, is also a well-known playback singer. Not only does she sing these Bathukamma songs, but she is also seen in the videos that are made especially for the festive season.
The singer says that she enjoys singing Bathukamma songs because through them she is able to preserve the songs that have been transferred down to the younger generation by the previous ones. Nowadays, she says that many of these songs are getting remixed by DJs and modern beats are added. While she isnât against it, she adds, âIt should be balanced and more folk elements should be used to preserve the Telangana culture for future generations.â
âPootha Puulanni Pooseâ and âNagire Naga Nandanoâ are some popular Bathukkama songs that Mounika has sung.
Watch Mounika Singh Yadav's song here:
Gotte Kanakavva, rose to fame a couple of years ago when she sang a song on MicTV, a Telugu YouTube channel. The 64-year-old star folk singer has sung eight Bathukamma songs so far, many of them hits.
Amidst her busy schedule of recording new songs, she spoke to TNM about what Bhathukamma songs mean to her. âI don't know how to write or read, but I know a lot of folk songs that I heard from my mother and we used to sing them during our childhood,â she says.
She further adds, âI am carrying forward the same tradition and I feel proud that I am able to sing those beautiful folk songs today.â
Kanakkava, who lives in Siddipet district in Telangana is known for her songs, âKongullo Suttundre Komalaangiâ and âTungutuyyala Tungutuyyalaâ.
Watch Kanakavva's song here :